back to article IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

Self-serving research published with the sole aim of flogging wares is a fairly standard PR tactic. But every now and then something so artfully shameless pops up it transcends the genre. Step forward, PHMG. The company, which designs audio-branded call handling for businesses, has an important message for IT firms. After …


  1. AndrueC Silver badge

    Way back in the mists of time when I was young and stupid (I'm not young any more) Borland used to play jazz music while you waited. Apparently one of the founders played jazz but I just thought it was intended to keep the queue lengths down.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      "Borland used to play jazz music while you waited. Apparently one of the founders played jazz"
      Philippe Kahn. He plays saxophone.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Zen Internet used to have inspiring MOH...

        ...performed by a relative of one of the company founders, I believe.

        The reason for generic muzak is it is Royalty Free, otherwise you may get a call from the Performing Rights Society. Vivaldi is out of copyright (hence his popularity), but the orchestra playing it are generally still entitled to a cut because the recording is generally still within copyright.

      2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: P. Kahn

        And the flute. Apparently he sometimes started presentations for investors with a little solo performance.

        Tech Trivia Time: Technically, he started his career in tech as an illegal alien, having entered the US on a student visum and staying on after it expired. He had a good job lined up at HP - which he couldn't take because he failed to get a Green Card. So he founded Borland.

        Try pulling a stunt like that today.

        Oh, and QuattroPro was easier to use than Excel.

  2. Sam Therapy

    Worst I ever heard...

    Was a badly edited (so it didn't repeat correctly) loop of an Enya track. For hours. I didn't like Enya before but now whenever I hear her "music" I get a red mist in front of my eyes.

  3. Ozz

    Fun times.

    I briefly worked for a company that piped generic music for on hold. I'll never forget the time it started looping a rap song that repeatedly dropped the F bomb...

  4. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Dear Companies, your on hold system is a dual edged sword.

    I don't mind much if you need to put me on hold to go check with your supervisor, look up something in a database or help system, as it means you can assist me better & try to resolve whatever issue about which I've called.

    What I mind is the repeated claims that I should keep holding because my call is important (bullshit - if it were then you would have answered it already) or that I could do all this via your website (bullshit - the fact that it's not accessible is why I'm forced to call you in the first place).

    Every time your on hold system insults my intelligence or pisses me off I increment the counter by +1.

    What counter?

    The likelihood that I'll instead decide to use this call to cancel my account & take my business elsewhere.

    I've had companies leave me on hold so long that the counter has surpassed 100 & thus *guaranteed* that I'd be killing my account, & then they act surprised that I'm "less than pleasant" on the phone?

    You did it to yourself by telling me every x seconds for TWO BLOODY HOURS that my call was important to you & that it would be answered shortly.

    Do you REALLY think ANYONE would be pleasant to you after that amount of bullshit?

    Because if you did then you deserve to be taken out & shot.

    I've got work to do, just like you do, and I can't get mine done until YOU get yours done, so wasting my time while you blow smoke up my ass is an AWESOME way to piss me off enough to vote with my wallet.

    You piss off your customers, we'll vote with our wallets, and we won't be YOUR customers any more.

    *Gives TheFinger with both hands after getting off the phone*

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Dear Companies, your on hold system is a dual edged sword.

      The irony is that they'll probably put you through to the "Customer retention team" who have no wait.

  5. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Before "hold music" became commonplace, many companies would play the local radio station while on hold. At least it wasn't a loop. Mind you, if the person picks up just as you hear a news bulletin saying, "World war 3 has been decl...." you might forget what you called about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That would cost thousands to do these days....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MY all time favourite Dilbert..

    Most apt in the circumstances.

  7. roselan

    I don't understand

    We use the theme of 2 girls 1 cup and nobody did ever complain.

    Of course, there is that one guy from sales that told us he should have a made a video call...

  8. Howard Hanek Bronze badge


    ....loved choir boys.........very, very much. You could say they 'inspired' him.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Vivaldi

      How odd, in that case, that he taught in a girls' orphanage.

  9. s. pam

    Ever been on hold with GlobalMeet?

    They've not changed their on-hold music in 15 years!

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Ever been on hold with GlobalMeet?

      And you're still waiting for someone to take your call!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best I ever heard...

    was the Scooby Doo theme at a long forgotten IT Rec firm

  11. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    We are experiencing unexpected call volumes at the moment

    "We are experiencing unexpected call volumes at the moment."

    Aaaaarggh! I so hate that particular lie.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: We are experiencing unexpected call volumes at the moment

      "Aaaaarggh! I so hate that particular lie."

      If they were so unexpected how come they had a message recorded for that exact situation?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We are experiencing unexpected call volumes at the moment

      you even get that at 2:30am on a Sunday morning....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We had yuge customer satisfaction with Star Trek

    A portable CD player running on endless shuffle in the server rack, playing a collection of quotes from Star Trek into the on-hold input. Some callers even asked to be put back into the queue, so they could listen some more.

    Probably was this one or a similar collection:

    The CD player was later replaced by a bunch of MP3 files on an Asterisk appliance and kept trekking until late last year.

  13. Pompous Git Silver badge

    And thinking of queues...

    There was a queue at the airport check-in. Mr Very Important Person forces his way in at the desk. The very attractive young lady says: "I'm sorry sir; you'll have to go to the back of the queue."

    The VIP says angrily: "Don't you know who I am?"

    The attractive young lady says into the PA system: "We have a gentleman at the check-in who doesn't know who he is. If anyone can assist, it would be very much appreciated."

    VIP: "Fuck you, bitch!"

    Attractive young lady: "You'll have to go to the end of the queue for that as well."

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge


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